We have all been in some sort of the same situation before. You have arrived early to your interview and are sweating it out in the lobby or conference room, assuming every person who walks by is your interviewer. The anticipation is eating away at you and suddenly you cannot seem to remember a single thing about the company you are interviewing with. Then, out of nowhere comes your interviewer, smile and all. You shake their hand and begin to talk, and all nerves go away.
As someone who has a lot of experience in both video and in-house interviews, I can definitely tell you that in-house interviews leave me feeling much better than video ones. When you get interviewed in person, they get to see more of your personality. You can more easily be yourself, and have more control over the first impression you make.
But what if I told you that there is not always an option for an in-house interview? What if you’re on the other side of the country and can’t make it to the company for the crucial interview? Your other option (and quite possibly your only one) is to agree to a video interview over FaceTime or Skype.
Now at first you might be skeptical of this. You will start to wonder if video interviews are even taken seriously, as I have many times in the past. But as someone who has been offered multiple positions after completing only a video interview, I can tell you right now that they are every bit as successful as in-house interviews – you just have to know how to work them to your advantage. I mean, after all, you are in the comfort of your own home. Here are five tips and tricks to help you ace that next video interview:
1. Test your internet connection and familiarize yourself with the software
This tip seems pretty obvious, right? You’re thinking, ”Of course everything will be checked before the interview!” But do not forget to do complete this task. I have heard way too many stories about interviewees’ connections gone wrong and the whole interview being negatively affected by it. There are two parts to this task, so be sure you complete both. They may be a little tedious and boring, but the last thing you want in an interview is a bad connection.
First, set up calls with your friends on whatever device you will be using for the interview. If you are calling the interviewer, practice outgoing calls to your friends. If the interviewer is calling you, make sure you know how to accept incoming calls on the software you are using. It is crucial that you familiarize yourself with the video software, that way you know exactly what to expect when you begin your interview.
Second, test your internet connection. There is an easy way to do it on a laptop that will make sure your connection is as strong as possible. Pro tip: Try to set up your device as close to the router as possible (if you’re using a wireless device). This way, the signal is close and the chances of a weak signal are very small, thus ensuring a strong connection and an uninterrupted interview.
2. Practice, practice, practice!
This tip is not solely for video interviews. I use it for in-house ones as well, but in a different way. When preparing for a video interview it is crucial that you practice your elevator pitch. You must slam it home and know exactly what to say if the interviewer were to ask you to describe yourself, which happens more often in video interviews than during in-house ones (at least in my experience). Practice your answers to standard interview questions and record your responses. Listen to a recording of yourself so that you know how much you need to work on number four below.
3. Nail the first impression
The first thing an interviewer will see when they connect with you over video is your face and the top quarter of your torso. You want to make sure that what the interviewer sees impresses them. Dress exactly like you would dress if you were going to their office to interview, and I’ll guarantee they will be impressed. Make sure to always smile too, that shows the interviewer what kind of personality you have, and shows them that you are comfortable in this different setting.
The second thing the interviewer will see is the space around you. They will be looking at what is in the background, and what surrounds you. As someone who is looking for a spot in their company, you want to make sure that everything around you is organized and plain as possible. You don’t want something to distract the interviewer from your face, nor do you want something in the background that will make them think twice about hiring you.
4. Talk clearly and concisely
There is no getting around the fact that the audio parts of video calls always come in a little fuzzy. This makes it even more important to slow down during the interview and speak clearly. The last thing you want is for the interviewer to keep asking you to repeat yourself, or for them to misunderstand what you said because they couldn’t hear it. Take your time, speak up, and make sure to annunciate when you talk.
5. Thank your interviewer
This one seems pretty obvious too. You do it at an in-house interview, so it would automatically transfer over to a video interview. However, what changes is what you are thanking them for. Instead of only thanking them for their time like you would at an in-house interview, you are now thanking them for their time and for going out of their way to set up a special video interview for you. Be sure that it comes from the heart. Let the interviewer know that you are truly appreciative of their consideration of you, and they will leave the interview with a happy taste in their mouth as they log off.
That’s all there is to it. Follow these five tips and your next video interview will be a breeze.